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Rochester () is a city in the U.S. state of New York, the seat of Monroe County and the third-most populous after New York City and Buffalo with an estimated population of 205,695 in 2019. The city of Rochester forms the core of a much larger suburban, and rural area. Rochester has a greater metro population of around 1 million people, across six counties.
Rochester was one of the United States' first boomtowns, initially due to the fertile Genesee River Valley, which gave rise to numerous flour mills, and then as a manufacturing center which spurred further rapid population growth. The city rose to prominence as the birthplace and home of some of America's most iconic companies, in particular Eastman Kodak, Xerox and Bausch & Lomb (along with Wegmans, Gannett, Paychex, Western Union, French's, Constellation Brands, Ragú, and others) which saw the region become a global center for science, technology, research and development. This status has been aided by the presence of several internationally renowned universities (notably the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology) and their research programs; these schools along with many other smaller colleges have played an increasingly large role in Greater Rochester's economy. Rochester has also played a key part in US history as a hub for certain important social/political movements, especially Abolitionism and the Women's Rights Movement. While the city experienced some significant population loss as a result of deindustrialization, strong growth in the education and healthcare sectors boosted by elite universities and the slower decline of bedrock companies like Eastman Kodak and Xerox (as opposed to the rapid fall of heavy industry with steel companies in Buffalo and Pittsburgh) resulted in a much less severe contraction than in most rust belt metros.
Today, Rochester's economy is defined by technology and education (aided by a highly educated workforce, research institutions and other strengths born in its past). The Rochester metropolitan area is the fourth-largest regional economy in New York State, after the New York City metropolitan area Buffalo, and Albany. Rochester's gross metropolitan product is US$50.6 billion—above those of Albany and Syracuse, but below that of Buffalo. Rochester is also known for its culture, in particular its music culture; institutions like the Eastman School of Music (considered to be one of the most prestigious conservatories in the world) and the Rochester International Jazz Festival anchor a vibrant music industry, ranked as one of the top ten music scenes in the US in terms of the concentration of musicians and music-related business. It is the site of multiple major festivals every year (such as the Lilac Festival, the aforementioned Jazz Festival, the Rochester Fringe Festival and others which draw hundreds of thousands of attendees each) and is home to several world-famous museums such as The Strong National Museum of Play and the George Eastman Museum, the oldest photography collection in the world and one of the largest). The Rochester Metro is ranked highly in terms of livability and quality of life and is often considered to be one of the best places in America for families due to low cost of living, highly ranked public schoolsand a low unemployment rate. However, there is a great divide between its inner city component (which has at times had the highest child poverty rate in the nation) and its affluent, well-educated southern suburbs. It is considered to be a global city, ranked by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network as having sufficiency status.
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